NYC Restaurant Favs!

Monday, April 8th, 2013

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One of the things that I found most exciting about moving to NYC was knowing that there would be endless food options! On any day, at any time you can find something delicious to bite into. However, that does not mean that you can just pop into any restaurant that you come across. Considering the vast number, variety and $$$, I have found it extremely important to do a little research prior to trying a new restaurant in the Big Apple (nothing is more embarrassing than taking a seat at a rather lovely place to only find out that you cannot afford it..real bummer and yes, this has happen to me!).

So, I must admit…I’m “that girl” who has a running of list of places to try as I come across them while wondering around the city, but I always make sure that I have the inside scoop prior to making my first visit. Since sharing is caring, I thought it would be groovy and helpful for me to share some on my NYC Restaurant Favs!

1. Westville– Love, Love, Love Westville. I must say everything that I have tried at this place is amazing! One thing they are known for is their market sides! 4 market sides for $15. You cannot beat that and not to mention that everything is cooked to perfection. A great place to try if you’re looking for good ole comfort food in an unusual way with an extremely affordable price tag. I do not think I’ve spent more than $25 bucks there and in New York..that’s kinda of a big deal! http://www.westvillenyc.com

2. Good– As one could imagine…good is GOOD! My absolute favorite brunch location in all of New York City! Lemon flavored pancakes with minted strawberries, spicy hasbrowns, scrambled eggs, bacon and a delightful glass of processo and peach schnapps. I mean what more could a girl ask for on a Saturday afternoon?! Nine times out of ten you will be greeted by the one and only Oscar who runs the host station and knows all of “the usuals” by name! Great location with great atmosphere. Be sure to go hungry because they give nice portions which makes the price tag completely worth it! Oh how I love Good…I think I’ll go this weekend. http://www.goodrestaurantnyc.com

3. Vynl– In the heart of Midtown, Vynl is great place to take your friends to who are visiting NYC for the first time! Personally, I think Vynl’s decor and atmosphere is the epitome of what people think of when they imagine a restaurant in New York City! Vynl is an Asian-American fusion cafe that has a fun menu along with a very special surprise in each restroom…and that’s all that I can say! You must go and check it out for yourself. http://www.vynl-nyc.com

4. Southern Hospitality– Who doesn’t love Justin Timberlake?!? Well, if you don’t I am pretty sure you would still love his restaurant, Southern Hospitality, located on 45th Street and 9th Ave. I would venture to say if you’re not from New York and don’t particularly care for “swank” dining, yet have no desire to eat at a chain then this is the place for YOU! The menu is primarily Memphis style BBQ. The prices are a couple of bucks higher than your typically Applebee’s or TGIF’s, however the menu is NO COMPARISON. I encourage you try either the BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad or the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese….sooooo yummy. Or for an appetizer try the Jalape√Īo Macaroni & Cheese Spring Rolls. No words can describe for how stinking good they are. http://southernhospitalitybbq.com/hk/

5. Eatery NYC-Looking for upscale but with an affordable price tag and friendly waiters? This is your place! While I have a had a few dinners at the Eatery, I think it is an exceptional location for drinks, desserts and conversation! Also, located in Midtown the Eatery offers flavorful sorbets and cheesecakes! Need I say more? You just need to go. The atmosphere is perfect. http://www.eaterynyc.com

6. Jane– Now if you are in the mood for the ultimate dining experience, then you should take a trip down to Greenwich village to have an evening at Jane! Great atmosphere and spectacular food. Last time I was there I had their spaghetti with a wonderful chardonnay wine sauce topped with cherry tomatoes and arugula. Oh my goodness good! Also, their steak frites are quite yummy. Seasoned to perfection and tender. This is the perfect place for a swank yet casual date night with the boo! http://janerestaurant.com

7. The Cafeteria– OMG, OMG, OMG…I LOVE THE CAFETERIA. Have you ever heard of a floral cocktail? I hadn’t until my first dining experience at the Cafeteria and it was amazingly delightful and very floral! However, it was the delicious selection of assorted mac and cheeses, fried oreos and red velvet cake in a jar that sold me on this place! Oh yes, and the super swank restrooms. A great restaurant with lots of crazy energy and people! P.S. The buffalo chicken mac and cheese is the best ! http://www.cafeteriagroup.com

8. Shake Shack– Remember the lunch spot that Ethan and Rachel went to everyday in the movie Something Borrowed? Well, guess what? This is it…the Shake Shack! I am kinda a sucker for hamburgers, grilled hotdogs and fries, which makes the Shake Shack a favorite of mine. You can never go wrong with a shack burger and an order of fries.. Will cost you about $8.00 and it’s pretty awesome! Also, they are known for their assortment of custards although I have never tried one. Oh yes, important detail about the Shake Shack: Don’t go when you are seriously hungry. Not because the food isn’t good, but the lines are always crazy long especially at the Theater District and Madison Square Park locations. I would encourage you take a gander to the Upper Westside or Eastside locations…there’s never a long line and I mean NEVER. http://www.shakeshack.com

9. Bangkok Tasty– Well, Bangkok Tasty isn’t in Manhattan, but Astoria! For those of you who don’t know..I live in Astoria and it is the BOMB.COM. Anywho, Bangkok Tasty is a super legit Thai restaurant that makes the most amazing Thai style lo mein noodles I have ever had in my life! And here’s the best part…THEY DELIVER. So as you can imagine Bangkok Tasty takeout happens quite often for Apt 42. In addition to their awesome delivery service, they also have a great dine in option in a little space close to Ditmars Blvd off of the NQR train. Really awesome Thai food that is worth the train ride to try ūüôā http://www.bkktasty.com

And there you have it my loves…a few of my NYC restaurant favs! Do you have any suggestions you would like to share? If so, drop a comment in the box below! I would love to give them a whirl. Happy eating friends : )

Wedding Planning…Baseball Style!

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

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As we already know planning a¬†wedding is almost every girl’s dream! You come from the womb believing that this fairytale will become a reality.¬† However, as that day drawers near you begin to face ‚Äúreal reality‚ÄĚ.¬† You question who your TRUE friends are, how much you can REALLY AFFORD to spend and the purpose behind CELEBRATING‚Ķis it just another social gathering or a day to celebrate the union between you and your soon-to-be spouse?¬† These are just a few of the thoughts I have had in this planning process.¬† With the help of my level headed fianc√©¬† and lots of¬† prayer for patience pants we were able to weed through things like this during the earlier stages of planning after my almost mental wedding breakdown!

Strike 1:¬†Oh glorious¬†plantation…NOT. As most you can probably imagine I wanted a very lavish and elegant wedding.¬† After all I do love social gatherings and spectular fashion so naturally the glam-esque wedding concept is what I gravitated towards first! Shortly after visiting a few possible venues, I soon realized that a Kim Kardashian wedding was not going to work for the budget as Jason and I were paying for the majority of the expenses with some help from our families. I must admit I was tad depressed to learn that my dreams of having a glamorous plantation wedding was simply out of the question. ¬†I tried to crunch the numbers every way humanly possible, but it just was not there. ¬†I mean $5,000 for a venue is not exactly chump change and to be completely honest I don’t think that your average bride cannot really afford to spend that kind of money unless momma and daddy are footing the bill entirely and even then that price point could be a stretch. ¬† Anywho, to make a long story short…Pebble HIll Plantation would not be the venue for the Howard/Read wedding.

Strike 2: The magical guest list.¬†I am sure that one could already assume that I had pretty high expectations for a large guest list and not to mention…I’m from the South and Southern folks don’t play about their invitations to major life event for people that they know. Doesn’t really matter if we know that person on a surface, superficial level or have known them for a lifetime…it’s just a natural expectation. ¬†And I must say I am southern belle that likes to follow all of the traditional rules! However, in my pursuit to host an event that was not only amazing, but affordable put immediate limitations on the number of guest I could invite, which made me very uncomfortable. Especially considering the large number of friendships and relationships I had cultivated with folks from various phases in my life. ¬†Yet again, I found myself crunching numbers trying to make things work out as I had imagined, but guess what? To no avail. ¬†In the words of my granddaddy, “money doesn’t grown on trees,” although I was sure trying hard to plant one in the back yard. ¬†Also, in the beginning phases of planning of our wedding, I was in the middle of a huge life transition to New York City, which isn’t exactly the cheapest city in the world where I would be attending one of the most expensive private institutions ever…so my number crunching did not only include wedding expenses but life survival for the big apple! To survive or to have a fabulous wedding..I think survival!

Strike 3: Learning to share the wedding dream so the day reflects US and not just me!¬†Frustration had really set in at this point in time. I can remember trying to explain things to Jason and he would be matter of fact with me, which made me a not so happy camper! I just did not ¬†understand why he did not understand my point of view about things. ¬†Of course I thought that my perception on wedding planning was the only way it could/would be done for this girl. Proven wrong. ¬†Unlike most grooms, Jason actually wanted to play a role in planning process, which is a dream come true/pain in the butt as most of us gals want the day to be all about “ME” and rightfully so. It is one of the few days in your life that you get to a princess! However, a princess cannot rule a kingdom without the help of her prince charming. Besides…sharing is caring!

The Home Run: After a rather long FaceTime come to Jesus meeting with Jason we were able resolve most of the gray areas! We set a budget of $10,000 and decided that we would make it work to the best of our abilities. ¬†And I am proud to say that we have! Granted our families have chipped in to cover major cost like photography, the bar, florals and things of that nature, otherwise we’ve covered it! Although this is not the wedding I had initially dreamed of, I am sooo thrilled as to how it has evolved! To be honest I love it 200% more than what I had originally envisioned for this day. It will indeed be lovely!

So I share all of this to remind my brides and fairytale dreamers to remember these 3 things as your big day approaches:

1. Be Realistic. It will make the process much easier. Especially the budget part.

2. Include Him. Even though he may say that he does not care still ask him his opinion! He will appreciate the fact that you value his input.

3. Enjoy. This is one day of your forever! So marvel in it. ¬†Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Cheers to wedding season as it is now in full swing!

P.S. In May Live, Love and Read will be wedding central! I’ll be posting lots of groovy things to help you and your friends! Also, we’ll have a guest blogger that month! Get excited.

February Funness: NYFW, Birchbox Event, & NYCB Rose Ball

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Well folks, February is just about over! I feel as  if time is moving in super sonic speed. Is it just me? Hope not! According to my best friend, Vanessa, life is dragging by. haha.

Although, February has been a busy month it also has been very exciting! Here’s a little recap of some of the fun things that have taken place in the last two weeks:

New York Fashion Week: Fall/Winter Collections 2013

Every fashionista dreams of the tents. The white tents that is. As you may recall me sharing in a previous post about NYFW, it takes some pretty powerful connections to get inside of any fashion week event. On February 13th (one of the last days of NYFW for Fall/Winter Collections 2013). My internship advisor and friend, Sarah Horne asked if I would be interested in attending a little exhibition with her across the plaza….in the tents! Of course, I said YES! We had tickets to a presentation by Leather Japan. And then I had a chance to wonder around and absorb the magic. THANK YOU SARAH HORNE. You = Da Bomb!

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Birchbox Event: Beauty, Bellinis and Bites

You all know that I am beyond obsessed with Birchbox. ¬†Just like last season they hosted another Birchbox Fashion Event, which was super swank and very different from last season’s. ¬†The event was hosted at the SoHo House in the Library Room. ¬†So I spent couple of hours there with my friend, Kira and we enjoyed meeting and greeting with peeps, casual conversation over bellinis and bites while also engaging in a serious glam session with Lancome makeup artist, Alex Sanchez. Thank you to Emily Loftiss for connecting the dots and making this possible for me!

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New York City Ballet Rose Ballet

One word..swank! This past Thursday was the 2nd Annual Young Patron’s Circle Rose Ball. We had approximately 350 guests to attend this event and it was great! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. ¬†And just to spice things up…it was Masquerade Ball! Almost everyone was wearing mask which helped cultivate this super sleek and fun atmosphere. And yes, there was dancing!

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Yay for February Funness! Cannot wait to see what March has in store : )

The Valentines Tale of a Not So Straight Spine!

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Hello Love Bunnies and Happy Valentines Day!

I wanted to share a very special story with you guys…and yes, it is about a not so straight spine. ¬†My not so straight spine! ha.On this very day one year ago I went under the knife in hopes of having my 90 degree double curve (aka the worst scoliosis ever) corrected. As you can imagine…I was tad bit¬†nervous, but was looking forward to having this problem corrected as I had lived with it for 10 years and each year it got progressively worse. ¬†Thankfully due to my intense dance lifestyle, I experienced very little pain. ¬†But as I began to slow down with my frequent dancing, I noticed a huge change in my body as well as increased and serve pain in my back! Actually it was one day after dance rehearsal,during my senior of college, that I was in such pain that I could not even lean over to load my dishwasher. ¬†It was in that moment that I knew that I had to do the one thing that I never wanted to do…go under!

Pre-Surgery Spine…pretty intense!¬†

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After much research I found myself at Emory Orthedopedic and Spine Center on December 6th receiving a firm YES from Dr. Dheera Ananthakrishnan¬†(we just call her Dr. A…lol) that I would need to have the Harrington rod surgery. ¬†So without much else to consider the surgery was scheduled for Tuesday February 14th, 2012.

8 hours, 2 titaium rods, 18 screws and a hook later…I now have a straighter spine!¬† I wanted to share this story because often times in life we have to face the things we have fear most, but it is during those journeys that we learn the most about ourselfves.¬† And when we better understand ourselves we become¬†more open to discover other things…like true love! Or at least that’s what happened to me : ) So don’t be fearful.¬† You never know how things are linked to one another! Be open. Embrace the journey because only God knows what lies ahead of you!!! Happy Valentine’s Day Lovers <3

Post Surgery Spine…MUCH BETTER!

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Valentine’s Day 2012

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P.S. I want to take a quick moment and give a SUPER DUPER THANK YOU to my momma, sisters, grandma and auntie sharon who helped me get through this recovery! I couldn’t have done it without your LOVE, support and patience with me : ) Means more than you guys will ever know!

New York City Ballet Annual Luncheon

Monday, February 11th, 2013

I think it goes without saying, but things are rocking and rolling at New York City Ballet (NYCB).¬† It is the beginning of a new year and winter season is full swing. I still cannot believe that I work for one the World’s most praised ballet companies! It is indeed a priceless experience. And speaking of “priceless”, this past Thursday was NYCB’s Annual Luncheon and guess who had chance to help out…ME : ) lol.

Just to give you a little background information, NYCB host approximately four benefit events per year. In addition to providing the guest with a unique opportunity to celebrate the Company’s accomplishments, it also serves as a medium in which aditional funds can be raised for the needs of the Company. ¬†This year the Annual Luncheon “Barre to Big Screen” focused on a new program the Company established called “Dancers Wellness.” In understanding the high demands dancers place on their bodies daily, this program aims to provide funding so they have consistent access to the BEST doctors, therapists, and much more.

Overall the event was absolutely spectacular! Everything ran as smoothly as one could dream. ¬†Oh yes, I must give you the highlight of the event…I had the chance to interact with not one, but two of my all time favorite celebrities…Sarah Jessica Parker and Drew Barrymore. ¬†I think it goes without saying, but they are both BEAUTIFUL and amazingly kind in person. ¬†Ok, ok…so here’s what they were wearing:

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Drew Barrymore

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And to put the icing on the cake, Drew Barrymore complimented me on my sweater and even asked where it came from! I’m not going to lie…I was a little caught off guard which led to me stumbling over my words in attempt to answer! lol. It was nice to have one of my fav celebs affirm that I made a good wardrobe choice! Thank you Banana Republic for creating such an awesome line of sweaters..I think I will buy a few more!!!

Post Drew Barrymore Compliment

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Here are a few candids for ya!

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